Some human foods are suitable for your pet hamster’s diet. They are omnivores after all, which means that they can eat meat as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables; however, certain foods are not safe for hamsters to consume. You may be wondering where chocolate falls? Is it safe for them to consume? Knowing how rich and energizing chocolate can be to us humans, I decided to conduct some research on the topic. Here is what I have been able to find.
So, can hamsters eat chocolate? Hamsters should never eat chocolate. While there is some debate among hamster owners as to whether small amounts of chocolate might be safe, but, for the most part, it is not recommended to give your hamster chocolate. There are no inherent benefits in doing so.
Let us now take a closer look at why chocolate is not a great food for hamsters. We will then turn to what you should include in your Hamsters diet to ensure they remain healthy, strong and that you are supporting their ongoing well-being.
Is Chocolate Safe For Hamsters?
Chocolate can be extremely harmful to hamsters, they could even die from ingesting it. Chocolate contains a chemical called Theobromine, it is an alkaloid that comes from the cocoa bean husk, and it can have a toxic effect on the system of such a small creature. Another very dangerous ingredient, contained in chocolate, is Caffeine. This attacks the central nervous system of your hamster leading to stress and quite possibly death.
If your hamster has accidentally ingested a small amount of chocolate you need to monitor your pet and look for signs of sickness. If symptoms appear severe, or get worse over the course of a few hours you should visit your vet as soon as you can.
Signs to look out for would be: inactivity, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and a change in their behavior and appearance. However, if your hamster is lying on its side this is an indication of an emergency and you need to get your hamster to the vet straight-away. If you are in any doubt about its health call your vet as soon as possible.
If you want to treat your pet hamster, there are safer alternatives to chocolate that your little friend will enjoy. let’s look at what you can and cannot feed your hamster as well as discuss portion control.
What Can You Feed A Hamster?
First of all, let’s consider the diet of wild hamsters, as domesticated hamsters eat similar foods to their wild cousins. A wild hamster will eat food that is available where it lives, this is usually somewhere dry, like close to the dessert. The best foods include nuts, berries, insects, some meat and the vegetation that is native to that place.
You must try to replicate this natural diet for your pet hamster, and be sure not to overfeed them at the same time.
Be careful with nuts and seeds, as Hamsters can become picky eaters over time. They can easily and quickly develop a habit of only eating the nuts and seeds that they like and neglecting other wholesome foods. This can lead to them not be getting adequate nutrition from their diet.
You can purchase some excellent brands of food in bulk for a great price on Amazon. This include Muesli and Pellets.
Pellets are perhaps more ideal as they have been specially formulated to provide balanced nutrition. There are a lot of brands these days that have worked hard on their formula to ensure it is nutrient dense and provides a variety of vitamins and minerals that a Hamster needs. As such, these foods are enjoyed by Hamsters and you should not experience any fussing eating with this as a primary food source.
Feeding your Hamster on a diet exclusively of Pellets is not the best of ideas either, for this reason, it’s a good idea to supplement their diet with other foods and offer some variety.
Your hamster needs balanced food that contains high quality ingredients, matching that of what it would eat in the wild. The Oxbow Garden Select Fortified Food on Amazon is my personal go-to and comes strongly recommended.
The Foods You Can Feed To Your Hamster And Portion Control
You must keep track of how often your pet hamster eats as they don’t all eat the same amount of food. When it comes to treats, they really should make no more than ten percent of their diet.
It is recommended that you feed your hamster 10g of dry food twice per day. Make sure they have fresh food per feeding session and don’t leave uneaten food to rot. Provide them with fresh water every day.
For a balanced diet, make sure that you look for hamster food that contains 12-24% protein and 3-6% fat. The rest should be in the form carbohydrates which Hamsters need a lot of as they are active and very energetic.
Be sure not to overfeed your Hamster as this can cause them to become overweight and experience weight management issues. This is problematic for several reasons and can cause health issues. Their tiny frames are not designed to support a lot of additional weight.
Here are the types of treats that should be offered sparingly, as they are prone to causing weight gain and can be easily overfed:
- Bread (wholewheat)
- Cereals (sugar-free)
- Pasta (cooked)
- Potatoes (cooked)
Fresh fruits and vegetables on the other hand, make ideal treats for your Hamster. The following is a list of greens that are best for your Hamster to eat:
- Apples (without the seeds)
- Grapes (cut)
The Foods You Can’t Feed To Your Hamster
Along with chocolate, unfortunately there are other fruits and vegetables that your Hamster will need to abstain from.
In particular, citrus fruits as they are too acidic to feed your Hamster and can cause a range of health issues, such as stomach upset and diarrhea; some foods have even been reported to cause cancer (corn and alfalfa).
It is best to not give any food that you unsure of. The following is a list of foods that Hamster Owners are routinely advised to avoid giving to their hamster:
Important Tips To Remember When Feeding Your Pet Hamster
- Can hamsters eat chocolate? no is the answer, it contains an alkaloid, called Theobromine, which is toxic to hamsters, it also contains Caffeine which effects the central nervous system.
- If your hamster accidentally ingests some chocolate, monitor their health looking for signs of sickness, take your hamster to the vet if you have any concerns.
- You must replicate what a hamster would eat in the wild. Pet stores and Amazon sell hamster food such as pellets, which gives your pet a balanced and optimal diet.
- Offer small amounts of food at a time. Do not leave food to rot in your hamsters cage, make sure you provide fresh water every day.
- Treats should only make up 10% of your hamsters diet, the rest should be 12-24% protein, 3-6% fat and the rest carbohydrates.
- Do not overfeed your Hamster because this can cause weight gain which is hard to eliminate and can cause health issues.
- Hamsters need greens but be aware that certain fruits and vegetables can make your hamster unwell. Avoid any foods that you are unsure of.